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Lockdown

Transformers Animated
by yo go re

It isn't bad enough the Autobots have to worry about the Decepticons balsting them into slag? Now they need to be careful that someone does't capture them and lop off their legs?

Lockdown could care less about Megatron and his grand goals of universal domination. He's in this game for upgrades, pure and simple, and he wears the Decepticon badge because they're the ones who can get him the systems he wants. For the right price he'll hunt down any target and bring it in - functioning or not. As a bonus, every new target means new trophies for his workshop wall. He enjoys his work, and he's traveled from one end of the universe to the other doing it, which is why he's got a collection of weapons and functions second to none.

Lockdown isn't the first bodypart-swapping bounty hunter the in the Transformers' history: there was also Death's Head, a Marvel Comics character who tangled with the TFs back in G1. At least, he did until he ran afoul of the Doctor (yes, that Doctor), who shrunk him down to human size and sent him off to a new dimension where there were no giant robots. Or at least very few of them. Now, there's no intentional connection between Lockdown and Death's Head, but who doesn't love the badass loner who lives by his own rules? It's enough to make a girl lubricate!

As shown in flashbacks during the Season 1 episode "The Thrill of the Hunt," Lockdown is the only Transformer on Animated who hasn't adopted an Earthmode: apparently cars on Cybertron look like a mix between a Corvette and a Cougar. Lockdown's vehicle is a monstrous muscle car with spikes on the roof, hubcaps and bumper, curved exhaust pipes on the sides and what looks like a cow catcher on the front end. If Pixar's Cars had had a psycho killer, this is what it would have looked like.

The car is 5½" long and 3¼" wide (thanks to the spikes on the rear wheels), but only about 1¼" tall - Lockdown is a low rider! The wheels turn freely, and all the glass is red - even the tail lights and hexagonal headlights. The body of the car is almost all-black, save for the two green patches on the hood. Of course, there's a huge air intake and the engine sticking up through the hood, as well. This is one harsh set of wheels!

To transform change Lockdown to a robot, begin by separating the side panels, then drop them straight down. Remove the hood and engine, and swing the previous panels out to the front. Split the remaining bits of the trunk, and unfold them to be arms. open the hatch on the undercarriage to raise Lockdown's head, and spin the waist around so the feet face forward.

According to lead character designer Derrick Wyatt, Lockdown was originally planned to look like a lumbering Frankenstein-ish freak. That was changed, however, so now he looks less like a monster and more like a professional. His design now looks more like an undertaker's suit, right down to the coattails hanging off his waist. His face is nearly skeletal, making him one top hat shy of being a metallic Baron Samedi. And heck, if that Death's Head comparison up above made you giggle, then you'll probably think the black marks on his face look a lot like Lobo's.

At a glance, Lockdown looks as symmetrical as any other TF, but go closer and you'll see the design differences on his limbs. Look at his upper arms, for instance, or his legs just below the knees. Now, granted, the cartoon version has a lot more variety, but you can only cheat so much on a physical object. Because of the way he transforms, his hands are always held at a bit of an angle; they don't come straight down from the arms, but instead fold in a bit. His head turns, his shoulders swivel and raise, there's both a hinge and a balljoint at the elbow, the waist turns (of course), there are balljointed hips, swivels at the thighs, hinged knees and a little bit of play in the ankles.

To showcase the way Lockdown steals and swaps bodyparts, the car's hood can become a hook hand that attaches to his arm. The engine turns into the EMP generator he stole from Ratchet ages ago: turn the air intake to face backwards and press down so the sides pop out automatically. The generator can be removed from the arm and, true to the show, it fits on the similarly shaped port on the Ratchet figure's arm. And even better, when the hood-hook isn't in use, you can store it on Lockdown's waist, and it'll simulate the "tails" that are otherwise absent from the toy. Pro!

In robot mode, Lockdown stands more than 7½" tall. Not only is that taller than any other Deluxe figures, it's bigger than a lot of Voyagers and even some Ultras. Really, only Leader class figures are reliably larger. And if all that confused you, maybe our breakdown of Transformer size classes will help clear it up. The brief version is that he's much taller than you'd think he should be.

Since he's not technically a Decepticon on the cartoon, Lockdown doesn't have a visible faction symbol: there's a little gold one on the toy, but on the show, he has a black panel that only shows a symbol when he presses on it. Transformers fans will recognize that: it's a rubsign! The thermal-reactive "hidden" symbols that first showed up on the toys in 1985. Shame the action figure doesn't have the same feature.

Lockdown is an interesting character, in that he skirts the edge of the Autobot/Decepticon divide (though he's obviously a bit more purple than red). He's also voiced by Lance Henriksen, which just makes him sound wonderfully creepy. The vehicle has a great design, the toy changes well, and the robot is huge. His accessories serve double duty, and one of them even works for a different toy. Lockdown may not be the best TF you buy all year, but he is pretty fun and a decent buy.

Oh, and if you're on the fence about Lockdown, you might like to wait for one of the two upcoming releases: the Target-exclusive Stealth Lockdown will be a translucent version, while Blazing Lockdown will have a new flaming deco and a chainsaw instead of a hook.


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